Support group forming for ex-prisoners

Yavneh and St. Mark’s seek to help released women

St. Mark’s and Yavneh plan to form a pilot reentry support circle with Interfaith Prison Ministry for Women.

Many women – particularly those for whom drugs and substance use led to their convictions – risk re-engagement with their previous lifestyles if they return home. Some choose to stay in Raleigh for that reason. However, according to a March 2014 report on the impact of incarceration on families and the women who sustain them, cost and discrimination Interfaith Prison Ministry For Womenare the top barriers to finding housing after release from prison, and in Raleigh, much of the low income and affordable housing that formerly incarcerated women depend on is being sold to private developers.

Interfaith Prison Ministry for Women (IPMW) and Catholic Charities of Raleigh have joined forces to address this important issue. We need eight to ten persons to be in  relationship with a woman for 12 to 18 months. At present we have five people from St. Mark’s and one from Yavneh.

This provides an opportunity for us to practice our faith in a tangible way. Through a Reentry Support Circle we will share ourselves and cooperate with other congregations as a part of an effort to reduce recidivism and assist women, one person at a time, build a new life.

Meeting set for Aug. 23

A first meeting (combined information session, lunch and first training) at St. Mark’s is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 23, from 10am to 3 pm in our Community Life Center.

To become a part of this support group or for additional information, contact Sara Stohler at 919-821-4338 or You may come to this first meeting just to learn more without making a definite commitment.


Wilder’s Grove ministry takes shape; dates are set

Wilder’s Grove provides youth programs at their facility behind St. Mark’s. Part of the land on which this facility is located is provided by St. Mark’s. The New Hope Road Alliance has taken the organization as one of its service projects. (Photo courtesy of Wilder’s Grove)

In support of the new sponsorship of Wilder’s Grove Youth Center as an NHRA initiative, the board of the New Hope Road Alliance has voted to match all donations made by individuals or groups to benefit the center. This means that the $290 raised so far this year has turned into $580. Funds which come in this spring/summer will be used to pay for much-needed renovations in the center’s restrooms.

The New Hope Road Alliance is sponsoring three Wilder’s Grove events this spring:

Fellowship Cookout April 1, 11 am to 2 pm. St. Mar k’s will provide side dishes – sign up in the Concourse.

Campus Clean-up Day is Saturday, May 20.

Bathroom renovations A project manager is needed. For more information or to volunteer, see Jessie Maeck, or 617-549-7285.

The NHRA is an alliance of six congregations along New Hope Road which have united together with the common goal of serving our changing neighborhood. Meetings are monthly and are open to all members of the six congregations. Join us!

St. Mark’s joins the Women’s March

Eunice Jones, Sallie Simpson, Lynn Poole, Marcy Silver, and other St. Mark’s parishioners at the Women’s march.

On this past Saturday morning, members of St. Mark’s joined what became a global phenomenon as women and men across the globe joined in the Women’s March for equal rights. Organizers estimated the Raleigh crowd at up to 20,000.

For more on the Raleigh march:
To see photos from around the world:

Social Action to meet Sunday

The Social Action Committee has much to discuss Sunday. Please plan to attend our Social Action Committee meeting this Sunday, Jan. 29, from noon to 1pm in one of the classrooms of our Community Life Center.

Because we haven’t had a meeting since before the holidays, we have much to discuss and plan, including our community partnership with Wilder’s Grove Youth Center and the annual St. Mark’s Day of Service.

Please try to attend this important meeting.
Lynne Poole and Linda Bamford

Support group for former prisoner meets Sunday, Jan. 8

The new support group for a woman who is re-entering society after serving a prison sentence will have its first meeting this Sunday, Jan. 8, at 12:30 in our Community Life Center. If you are interested in learning more about what this group will be doing, you can sit in on this first meeting with Jennifer Jackson of Interfaith Prison Ministry for Women without making a commitment. The meeting will last about an hour. Call Sara Stohler at 919-821-4338 if you have questions.

Our St. Nicholas potluck lunch is Sunday, Dec. 4; Wilburn gifts are due

Thanks to the generosity of St. Mark’s, 55 children at Wilburn Elementary will have a wonderful Christmas, with each child receiving two toys, a new book and a shirt.
The deadline for these Angel Tree gifts is this Sunday, Dec. 4. Bring your wrapped and tagged gifts to the Community Life Center between 9 am and the end of the St. Nicholas potluck luncheon.
Don’t forget to bring a dish to share at the luncheon.
  Remember to put a tag on each of the gifts with your child’s number, first name and last initial. If you are giving all four of the gifts to a child, in addition to wrapping and tagging each gift separately, please put the gifts in a large gift bag that also has a tag on it with the child’s number, first name and last initial.
St. Mark’s and other faith communities of the New Hope Road Alliance will host a Holiday Party at Wilburn Elementary on Thursday, Dec. 8, 5:30 to 7:30 pm in the school cafeteria. St. Mark’s members are invited to attend the Holiday Party at Wilburn.
Questions? Contact Lynne Poole at or 919-781-3453.


Help us provide gift bags for women prisoners

St. Mark’s will again participate in creating gift bags for the women in the minimum security unit of the NC Women’s Prison. Interfaith Prison Ministry for Women is sponsoring the bags for all women in the unit. There are fewer items this year, but we have to follow the list exactly, including size of items. If you would like to either make a bag following the list below, bring some items to fill out some partially created bags, or make a small donation, please contact Sara Stohler at 919-821-4338.  Sunday, Dec. 11, is the deadline for bringing your items or money to St. Mark’s.

Each bag should include exactly the following contents in a clear plastic Ziplock bag:


  • 1 body wash (12 to 14oz each, assorted scents)
  • 1 toothpaste (5.5-6 oz. tubes)
  • Journal (“marble composition book” style, but all colors and varieties of covers are acceptable and encouraged)
  • 1 pen
  • 1 plastic-wrapped microwavable popcorn
  • 10 individually wrapped hard candies (peppermint and butterscotch

Please also include some sort of holiday card, or decorative sheet of paper with a Christmas greeting in the bag – something to make the clear plastic bag look festive and like a gift! But, no names of specific people at the church.

They cannot include stickers or glue.

Outreach grant application deadline extended until Dec. 4

St. Mark’s has $3,000 to award in Outreach grants for 2016. If you regularly volunteer for a non-profit organization that could benefit from a donation of funds, notify the organization and invite them to submit an Outreach Grant to the Social Action Committee.  Grants will be accepted through Sunday, Dec. 4, and awarded by the end of December. Grants received after the Dec. 4 deadline will be reviewed in the next funding cycle.

The grant application form can be downloaded HERE.  Print and complete the form (it cannot be completed online). Submit it to Jackie McLaurin, office manager, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 1725 N. New Hope Road, Raleigh, 27604.

All requests must be made in writing and submitted on the St. Mark’s grant application form with required attachments. Incomplete grant applications cannot be accepted. All grants will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  1. Is St. Mark’s actively involved in the Social Ministry?
  2. Is there a strong need for the grant?

The following General Guidelines for Outreach Grants were approved in 2012 and will be in effect for the current Outreach Grants:

  1. Grants cannot be submitted to both the Reeve Fund and Outreach.
  2. Priority will be given to projects in which multiple individuals from St. Mark’s are actively involved.
  3. Priority will be given to Outreach Programs that have been designated by St. Mark’s as official outreach activities.
  4. Priority will be given to Wake County “causes” versus national or international efforts. National and international “causes” may be considered; however, they may receive less funding than those which are Wake County based.
  5. Consideration may be given to other ways in which St. Mark’s supports the initiatives, such as special fundraising efforts, alternative giving during the holidays, and/or direct support from St. Mark’s Budget.

Typically grants range in size from $250 to $1,000 and will be awarded by the end of December. For more information, contact the Grants Committee Chair, Margaret Thurston.